The layout and design of the comic page is a crucial stage of the development process. Its the roadmap to outline your story. In comics, the panel arrangement, shape, and positions in relation to each other must be composed in a way that is intuitive and obvious. The Comic Draw app has some cool features that make this step in the creation process fun.
Working small is the fastest way to quickly figure out the layout of your pages. Using templates helps streamline this process. Drawing at this scale helps you decide which compositions work well and you can try out several drafts before committing. The above image is sample template. You can download your free copy of this template to print and practice on.
Unless drawing straight from your mind, you will be working from a script. The Comic Draw app has a cool feature that lets you work on your script and art at the same time. The writing and drawing modes are interactive. You can actually move lettering elements from the script onto your comic pages such as titles, sound effects, captions, speech bubbles and even panels that you can use as place holders for your drafts.
As you look over your script think about how to depict the story. Ask yourself, “What is the clearest and most interesting way that I can show what is happening in the story?” You can only depict one action per panel and the reader must be able to understand what's happening in every panel all the way to the end.
When deciding where to place captions and speech bubbles make sure important visual story information is not covered up. Arranging all of these elements is a delicate balancing act. Setting all of the non-negotiable elements of the panel before getting too into the drawing saves a lot of frustration down the road. Trust!
Arrange the panels sequentially and prioritize size according to importance. Manga is read from right to left. In the West we typically read from left to right, top to bottom. Sort your panels to read like a Z on the page. When deciding the size of your panels on a page and how they relate to the others remember:
Big panels are the most important
Small panels are least important
After you layout the panels and place the lettering elements within those panels, you have an outline to help flesh out the artwork. Building this blueprint as a foundation for the upcoming drawing helps the workflow go smoothly. You do not want to get too invested in a drawing that you can't use while trying to beat deadline goals.
I hope these tips help you become a better sequential artist. Coupled with the Comic Draw app and this template my productivity has gone up as well and hope it does the same for you. I welcome any and all feedback. Thank you for your time.
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